Wedding Polaroids by artistic photographer Abbey Hepner


I have a soft spot for film-based and instant camera photography so when I saw fine art and artistic wedding photographer Abbey Hepner‘s beautiful, all-natural, and nostalgic polaroid wedding photos, I thought a feature on her work would be the perfect follow-up to my Wedding Polaroids, Lomo and Instant Camera Photography blog entry.

wedding polaroid

In a worldwide industry full of digital wedding photographers, Abbey is one of the few who still embraces working with film. I asked her why she still has a fascination with the archaic medium:

I really fell in love with photography in a darkroom. I majored in fine art photography at the University of Utah and was lucky enough to have amazing teachers and a film-based program. There is something about being able to watch a photograph develop and emerge from a blank photographic print. 

polaroid wedding

When you visit Abbey’s site and Facebook page, you will find sections containing her Polaroid prints and image transfers. She continues:

Certainly there is something very special about a polaroid print. The unique singularity that can never be duplicated in exactly the same way. Like a singular moment, blowing out the candles on a birthday cake, a smile of excitement and the first slow and gentle kiss between two people on their wedding day. These moments are the fragments of a complete life and as much as I love being able to access images that take me back to these times on a computer, they do not stand in for the richness of a singular print.

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wedding polaroids

wedding polaroids

In these fast-paced times, digital photography is certainly a quicker and more convenient option however there’s something appealing and somewhat magical about going with traditional film photography, don’t you think?  I asked Abbey’s opinion as a professional wedding photographer about what makes analog photos different from digital ones:

I love technology and I truly believe a good photographer, like a good painter or sculptor, uses whatever tools are available to make the best artwork possible. Sometimes the image requires a digital camera or a special type of film. There are a lot of arguments in the photographic world about what camera brand is best, the latest lens trend, digital followers and film purists. I refuse to limit my creative vision by becoming too focused on the gear rather than the images and my clients. I try really hard to let the light, the environment and the stillness speak to me. If my clients love the work than I did my job right.

For the first 6 years that I did photography, I shot only film. Continuing to shoot film is partly out of comfort and partly because I love the depth, color and quality of film. But I will admit that I incorporate some of my oldest film cameras (like my Hasselblad and Holga) simply because they allow me a different level of creativity. I am a serious perfectionist so sometimes I have to force myself to leave a little room for happy accidents like light leaks and cross-processed film.

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So is instant photography part of the wedding packages Abbey offers?

Yes. I shoot a limited amount of instant images at every wedding I do. Many of my clients chose to include a film package for extra cost which means we shoot a lot more film and instant images throughout the day.

I want to incorporate the spontaneity that comes with the social art of taking polaroids. But most importantly I want my clients to hold something that represents one of those fleeting, singular moments from one of the most important days in their life. I’ve had clients tell me that they took their instant images with them on their honeymoon and pulled them out just to say, “Wow, we really got married!” It’s important to me that my clients do not just receive a disc of images that sits on their computer or in a shoebox under the bed, but rather that they have images that they can hold or hang on their wall as art.

60 wedding polaroids

gig harbor wedding

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instant wedding photos

instant wedding photo

Abbey Hepner definitely takes gorgeous, spontaneous and natural-looking instant photos. For more information on her work, you can e-mail her at abbey@abbeyhepner.com, see her work online at www.abbeyhepner.com or on the blog at www.abbeyhepner.com/blog.

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How about you? Are you going for film or digital photos at your wedding?  If you had polaroids taken at your wedding, shoot me an e-mail for a possible feature! 🙂

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